Enemy Of Free Speech Jim Ardis Executes The ‘Beyond Parody’ Defence
THE Journal Star has caught up with Jacob Elliott. He was arrested in the war on free speech. The Mayor or Peoria, one Jim Ardis, was very upset at the fake Twitter account, @Peoriamayor. He called the police.
Rather than laugh at Mr Ardis and advise him to respond to the spoof blog with humour and smiles, the police thought he had made a good point. How very dare anyone mock the Mayor. You can mock Jesus, God, Mohammed and even George Clooney, but mocking the Mayor of Peoria is a step too far.
Three judges agreed.
Judge Kirk Schoebein signed off on a warrant seeking subscriber information from Twitter.
Judge Lisa Wilson approved a warrant for Comcast to find out where the person who used the Internet to access Twitter lived
Judge Kim Kelley signed the warrant to search the home of the alleged parodists.
Respect for the man and his office must be preserved.
So. Armed and armoured, seven members of the Peoria police force raided Mr Elliott’s home and took him away for questioning.
Only, he didn’t do it. The parody was the work of Elliott’s roommate Jon Daniel. He too was was taken to the Peoria Police Department for questioning. He said nothing. And was soon freed without charge.
And Twitter removed the account. At first, Daniel hadn’t say it was parody, although it clearly was. He changed the biog to state ‘parody’, but by then it was too late for Twitter’s rule keepers. Helpfully, a new Twitter account mocking the idiotic Ardis is up. And it is a parody. Probably.
Back at Elliott’s home the goon platoon found was some weed. They arrested Elliott for possessing 30 to 500 grams of marijuana.
He tells the Star’s Matt Buedel and Andy Kravetz:
“I couldn’t believe this much force was being used for a fake Twitter account — it blew my mind. It was extremely frightening. I don’t think I’ve ever been so scared in my life.”
His pain did not end there. Elliott then gets the kind of newspaper write up no man envies:
Elliott — a 36-year-old, rail-thin man with thick glasses, thinning hair, a soft voice and…
We don’t get to know about Elliott’s nerdy T-shirt and unkept toe hair, but we do hear from him again:
“As soon as I opened the door, a female officer shoved her hand into my pocket and screamed, ‘What’s in your pocket?’”
(At which point he resisted all urge to say ‘Jim Ardis’.)
For his first offense, Elliott spent more than 48 hours in jail.
The state’s attorney’s office did not charge him in time for bonding court on Wednesday afternoon, leaving him without a way out of jail until at least 3 p.m. Thursday. When he finally did appear before a judge, his bond was set at $3,000 — meaning he needed $300 bail to get out.
And it gets worse:
“I’m suspended indefinitely right now. It’s up to the company to determine whether I can have my job back after all this. I’m pretty scared. I don’t have another source of income.”
All computers, tablets and video game seized in the raid remain in police custody.
Jim Ardis is clearly a fool. But he has his supporters, many of whom are in uniform.
Update: Ardis addressed the story of his idiocy, proving that his previous idiocy was no fluke:
“I still maintain my right to protect my identity is my right. Are there no boundaries on what you can say, when you can say it, who you can say it to? You can’t say (those tweets) on behalf of me. That’s my problem. This guy took away my freedom of speech.”
Is Jim Ardis beyond parody? Is he trying to be so absurd that he becomes parody-proof?
Watch this space…